Prominent Iowa attorney endows study abroad support fund in honor of Dean Forsythe

Niko Pothitakis has never taken a class at the Mike Ilitch School of Business. He has never even set foot on Wayne State’s campus. Neither of these facts prevented Pothitakis from making study abroad opportunities more accessible to future generations of Ilitch School students.

Now a very successful attorney with his own law firm, Pothitakis started out in the 1980s as a young undergraduate student at the University of Iowa, where current Ilitch School Dean Robert Forsythe was then a faculty member.

Although more than three decades have passed since their time together on Iowa’s campus, Pothitakis is still extremely grateful to Forsythe for the advice and encouragement that helped lay the path for his successful career.

To show his appreciation and to celebrate Forsythe’s highly successful eight-year tenure as Ilitch School dean, Pothitakis has made a generous $50,000 contribution to create the Bob Forsythe Endowed Study Abroad Support Fund. Pothitakis has made previous donations, totaling more than $20,000, to support study abroad programs at the Ilitch School. This most recent gift ensures that the school can continue providing these life-changing learning experiences in perpetuity.

“I worked with Dr. Forsythe in the Honors Program,” Pothitakis recalled. “He was amazingly kind and encouraging as I was learning the ropes during my first couple of years of undergrad. Dr. Forsythe helped me to decide on a career path. He took the time to talk to me about my interests and go over the options I had available. I was considering an M.B.A or law degree and his insight helped me to make the right decision. Once I decided on a law degree, he encouraged me to apply to the top law schools.”

With his strong academic record, experience as a summer research assistant and a recommendation letter from Forsythe, Pothitakis was accepted at one of the top law schools in the country, the University of Texas School of Law. He earned his law degree in 1991 and returned to Iowa to practice law, primarily in the areas of workers’ compensation and personal injury.

Today, the Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C. has offices in Burlington and Keokuk, Iowa. Pothitakis is a past president of the Iowa Association of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Inc. and has received a number of recent honors, including being named to the Best Lawyers in Iowa and Super Lawyers list each year since 2013.

To support study abroad or other experiential learning opportunities at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, please visit or contact Director of Philanthropy Carol Hill at 313-577-9212 or

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